Interlude: A Distant Call

This is the Suzume story that author wrote as a bonus SS for the third volume of the book (however, it seems that it didn’t make it as a bonus because he missed the deadline).

The time frame is after the Hydra battle, when Claira, who was taken hostage, moved from King of Flies nest to Ishka.

That day, Suzume woke up to her own scream.

She threw off her bedding and sat up with only her upper body. She breathed heavily and gasped. Her thin nightgown was heavy and damp with sweat. She felt as though she’d just experienced a terrible nightmare, but she couldn’t remember what it was about, as if it had been erased like smoke.

After a while, she calmed down and pinched the nightgown that was stuck to her chest with her fingertips. She seemed to have been tossing and turning a lot, and it was so wet that sweat would drip if she wrung it out.

She might catch a cold if she stayed like this. Should she change her nightgown and lie down again, or should she get up and change into her usual clothes? Suzume hesitated and walked over to the window without making a decision.

Outside, the sky was beginning to turn white. It was only a matter of time before the sun rose.

And then, two figures came into Suzume’s view. They were moving around violently in a corner of the courtyard.



The black and white shadows that crossed each other at a speed that the eye could not catch were Sora and Claira.

It was not unusual to see them practicing together. Rather, it had become a daily sight lately. Sora had been sticking to Claira all the time.

Usually, they would hold weapons and clash their blades with each other, but this time, they were bare-handed, perhaps considering the time of day. Even so, their sparring was so intense that it didn’t seem like training, and Suzume couldn’t even follow their movements with her eyes.


Without realizing it, a sigh escaped from her mouth.

It had been less than half a month since the last attack. Suzume’s heart was not big enough to accept the person who tried to kill her and Ciel with an open mind. The sight of Sora and Claira being together all the time brought a feeling of uneasiness to Suzume’s chest.

She knew it. She knew that one of the reasons why Sora was with Claira was to keep an eye on her. Sora was watching over Claira to make sure she didn’t attack Suzume and the others again.

Even though she knew that, she couldn’t help but feel gloomy when she saw them.

“Sora-san, you look like you’re having fun…”

Sora had a look on his face that Suzume had never seen before when he was practicing with Claira. A face that was innocent and cheerful like a child. For Sora, who had a strong power, having someone he could fight without holding back must have been a rare thing.

That made Suzume’s heart ache.

What came back to her mind was her past self, who was furious. She attacked Claira, who had cut Ciel and even kicked her, and was easily defeated by her as if she were twisting a baby’s hand.

She had been trying her best in her own way since she came to Ishka. But her efforts were powerless against the attackers. Maybe even if she tried for ten or twenty years, the result would not change. The difference in ability between Suzume and Claira was that great.

This was not just about Suzume. Even Lunamaria and Miroslav, who seemed to be far above Suzume, could not reach Claira. Probably never.

An unreasonable gap in ability.

She never doubted that Sora was like that. Rather, she thought he was reliable and wanted to become useful to him somehow. She worked hard to achieve that.

Claira, who was standing in the same place as Sora, was in a sense the ideal for Suzume.

“…Oh, I see. I’m jealous of her.”

Of course, there is a lingering unease because the person attacked her. But more than that, she was shocked to see the person standing in the place she idealizes. No matter how much effort she puts in, she knows she can never reach that position, and this realization makes her heart creak with pain.

Whether Suzume was weak or strong, Sora probably didn’t care.

But the current relationship between Suzume and Sora was just Suzume relying on Sora one-sidedly. Suzume knew that such a relationship wouldn’t last long, even though she had lived in the forest.

What she was most afraid of was that she would stop questioning the way of living that depended on Sora. That she would become a real burden to him.

The only way to avoid that was to work harder. If she couldn’t reach him with her efforts so far, she just had to work harder than before.

And if she still couldn’t reach him then――when she thought that far, her heart throbbed. As if to appeal something, strongly.

For a moment, she remembered someone with red eyes like a lantern in her mind. It was the afterimage of the dream she had just had. Suzume tried to remember who that person was, but the more she tried, the more foggy her memory became, and the figure became blurred.

In the end, Suzume couldn’t remember the contents of her dream that day.

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